||*ʔl'aːlʔ, *ʔl'aːls, *ʔr'aːls, *hr'aːl, *l̥ʰjaːlʔ, *l̥ʰjalʔ, *l̥ʰjɯs
||*ʔl'aːls, *l̥ʰaːl, *l̥ʰaːn
||*naːlʔ, *l̥ʰjalʔ, *lal
||*ʔljalʔ, *l̥ʰjalʔ, *ɦljalʔ
||*l̥ʰjalʔ, *ɦljal, *ɦljalʔ
Ideogrammic compound (會意) – two pieces of meat (肉). In the bronze script, 肉 was corrupted into 夕 due to visual similarity, making 多 into a duplication of 夕. The form with 夕 was inherited in later scripts.
Chi (2010) suggests that meat is scarce in ancient times, so two pieces of meat is a lot, citing a passage from Mencius:
七十者可以食肉矣。 [MSC, trad. and simp.]
- Qīshí zhě kěyǐ shí ròu yǐ. [Pinyin]
- Persons of seventy years may eat meat.
Chang Ping-chuan suggests that it is the duplicative nature of the character that gives the meaning of "many", just like in 林 (“forest”), from 木 (“tree; wood”).
Cognate with 諸 (OC *tjaː, *tja, “many; all”), 都 (OC *taː, “all”), 庶 (OC *hljaɡs, “many”) (Schuessler, 2007). Also compare 大 (OC *daːds, *daːds, “large”).
Related to Proto-Tai *ʰlaːjᴬ (“many, much”), whence Thai หลาย (lǎai, “many”) and Zhuang lai (“many”).
- many; much; a lot of; numerous
- 街上有很多人。 ― Jiēshàng yǒu hěn duō rén. ― There is a lot of people in the street
- Antonym: 少 (shǎo)
- (after an amount) over; and more; more than
- 兩年多 / 两年多 ― liǎng nián duō ― more than two years
- (used in comparison structure 得多, 多了) much more; a lot more; far more
- 他比我高得多。 ― Tā bǐ wǒ gāo de duō. ― He is a lot taller than I am.
- 病人今天好多了。 ― Bìngrén jīntiān hǎo duō le. ― The patient is much better today.
- 我應該多運動。 / 我应该多运动。 ― Wǒ yīnggāi duō yùndòng. ― I should exercise more.
- 冚多張被 / 冚多张被 [Cantonese] ― kam2 do1 zoeng1 pei5 [Jyutping] ― put on one more blanket
今天比昨天冷，得多穿一件外套。 [MSC, trad. and simp.]
- Jīntiān bǐ zuótiān lěng, děi duō chuān yī jiàn wàitào. [Pinyin]
- Today is colder than yesterday, so you have to put on one more jacket.
屋企多咗一個人 [Cantonese, trad.]
屋企多咗一个人 [Cantonese, simp.]
- uk1 kei5 do1 zo2 jat1 go3 jan4 [Jyutping]
- the house has a new member
- extra; in excess
佢真係好易醉，飲多兩杯啤酒就冧咗喇。 [Cantonese, trad.]
佢真系好易醉，饮多两杯啤酒就冧咗喇。 [Cantonese, simp.]
- keoi5 zan1 hai6 hou2 ji6 zeoi3, jam2 do1 loeng5 bui1 be1 zau2 zau6 lam3 zo2 laa3. [Jyutping]
- He gets drunk really easily. He passed out after drinking a few extra glasses of beer.
- (used in question) how; how much; what
你到學校要走多遠的距離？ [MSC, trad.]
你到学校要走多远的距离？ [MSC, simp.]
- Nǐ dào xuéxiào yào zǒu duō yuǎn de jùlí? [Pinyin]
- What distance do you have to walk to school ?
- 你多高？ ― Nǐ duō gāo? ― How tall are you?
- (emphasis in exclamations) so; how; what
- 看她多漂亮啊！ ― Kàn tā duō piàoliàng a! ― Look how pretty she is!
她戴的帽子多可愛呀！ [MSC, trad.]
她戴的帽子多可爱呀！ [MSC, simp.]
- Tā dài de màozǐ duō kě'ài ya! [Pinyin]
- What an adorable hat she is wearing! / The hat she is wearing is so adorable!
- to have a lot
- to have more; to have too much; to have too many
他買了四張票，多了一張。 [MSC, trad.]
他买了四张票，多了一张。 [MSC, simp.]
- Tā mǎi le sì zhāng piào, duō le yī zhāng. [Pinyin]
- He bought four tickets, which was one too many.
- (Cantonese) few; little
- 咁多多 [Cantonese] ― gam3 doe1 doe1 [Jyutping] ― just this much (meaning “just very few”)
- (Cantonese) Short for 多士 (duōshì, “toast”).
- 奶油多 [Cantonese] ― naai5 jau4 do1 [Jyutping] ― condensed milk and butter on toast
- (over, more than): When the number is smaller or equal to 10, 多 can be put after the measure word. If it is bigger than ten, 多 has to be put before the measure word.
- (more): Placing 多 after the verb is correct but it is less natural than placing it before.
Dialectal synonyms of 多
(“many; much”) [map]
- (after an amount): (Min Nan) 幾／几, 外
Dialectal synonyms of 多
(“how; how much”) [map]